When Art Gives Back: Inspired Women of Skid Row

10926350_10155122918735156_4894502098817435761_oIN CELEBRATION OF Women’s History Month, two groups have joined together to support and bring attention to a group of people sorely lacking in both: homeless people.  Inspired Women of L.A. (IWLA), a “community where women of the arts meet for conversation, collaboration [and] inspiration,” has teamed up with LAMP Community, a widely-known community charity organization that helps homeless people find housing and shelter and provides counseling for those affected with mental health issues.

Homelessness is a rampant problem in both developed and undeveloped cities, with some (conservative) numbers estimating roughly 254,000 people affected throughout Los Angeles County alone. Oftentimes, people not affected by it directly become uncomfortable when they come face-t0-face with the grim reality of homelessness, reflexively ignoring it to the extent that homeless people become essentially invisible. When homelessness becomes focalized around a geographic location, though, like it has become around Skid Row in Downtown LA  (more than 1,000 people sleep on the streets of Skid Row on any given night), an interesting scenario arises: a marginalized and ignored community develops within a mainstream visible one.

While it is marginalized and invisible, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a community made up of people with their own passions and interests — including artists. And there’s no artist more marginalized and more invisible, and no artist whose voice deserves to be heard or perspective deserves to be seen more, than a homeless artist.

10942419_10155302892695156_5284047067924672433_nThat’s why it makes complete sense that LAMP and IWLA are co-hosting Inspired Women of Skid Row, and event that will highlight and showcase female artists in the Skid Row community. LAMP currently offers an art program that is a grassroots creative space located in the heart of Downtown, encouraging participation, self-expression, and inspiration through workshops, art shows, and outside collaborations. The arts program relies solely on donations and volunteer work and is an important asset to the Skid Row community. IWLA’s mission is to inspire and encourage artistic expression in female artists, and the Inspired Women have proposed designing a zine featuring drawings, poems and paintings of the artists showcased that will be sold at the exhibit, with all proceeds going back to LAMP’s arts program to fund future events, as well as to pay art supplies for the current workshops already held. Because LAMP’s art program is self-funded, IWLA has created a Go Fund Me account to help fund the printing of the zine.

The event is scheduled to debut in May, and will also feature poetry readings and live singing. Please support these two remarkable and inspirational community organizations in spreading art advocacy and homelessness awareness!  For more up-to-date information, check out LAMP Community’s Facebook page and the GoFundMe site.

Images courtesy of LAMP Community

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